Learn how to protect your small business, yourself, your family and your devices with these tips.
Small Business Owners
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small businesses to transfer funds from accounts and steal private information, a fraud referred to as “corporate account takeover.” Criminals use spoofed emails, malicious software and online social networks to obtain login credentials to businesses’ accounts, which they then use to make illicit transactions.
Combating account takeover is a shared responsibility between businesses and financial institutions. Bankers can explain the safeguards small businesses need and the numerous programs available that help ensure fund transfers, payroll requests and withdrawals are legitimate and accurate. Employees should be trained about safe Internet use and the warning signs of this fraud, as they are the first line of defense. Here are some tips to help prevent account takeover:
• Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your physical location. Do not use unprotected Internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated anti-virus and anti-spyware protection on your computers. Change passwords from the default to something complex.
• Partner with your bank for payment authentication. Talk to your banker about services that offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes, batch limits and other tools that help protect you from unauthorized transactions.
• Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Put your employees on alert. Look out for strange network activity, do not open suspicious emails and never share account information. If you suspect a problem, disconnect the compromised computer from your network and contact your banker. Keep records of what happened.
• Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your financial institution will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.
The Internet is a powerful and useful tool, but in the same way that you shouldn’t drive without buckling your seat belt or ride a bike without a helmet, you shouldn’t venture online without taking some basic precautions. Protect yourself with these tips:
• Keep a clean machine. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.
• When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark as junk email.
• Protect all devices that connect to the Internet. Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
Plug & scan. USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
These tips are provided by Iowa State Bank in partnership with the Iowa Bankers Association. If you have specific questions, contact your local banker at Iowa State Bank. Iowa State Bank is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Member FDIC.